'i V « i v an-
ore than enough
Following Grand Prix was never going to be easy, but TEENAGE FANCLUB reckon they've got it right again with Songs From Northern Britain.
Words Alastair Mabbott
‘We‘y'e never really been lashionable.‘ deelares Norman Blake. a statement so rash that even his bandmates Raymond MeGinley and Gerry Loye open their mouths to quality it. ‘Well . . . ‘ Norman eontinues. ‘maybe around the period ol Bandit-(remit'st/iu'. But we didn‘t justily the praise at that point.’
Now 'l‘eenage l‘anelub are getting around to the idea that maybe they can and do justily the kind ol praise that was heaped upon their preyious work. We‘re sitting downstairs in (ilasgow's .-\rgyle Street branch ol ll.\l\" alter the liannies hay e played a short set lor lans and Monday alternoon shoppers. showing oil the renditions ol euts born the new album. Suites From .N'tn'lln'rn llriluin. As we'ye come to espeet t'rom the hand. it‘s lilled with ltzseious Byrdsian pop and some ol their most natural. and ellortless harmonies to date.
It's a record we should liaye heard months ago btit. alter the initial seyen weeks ot’ recording. they lailed to hook back tip again with producer Dayid Bianeo. With no immediate solution in sight. the liannies decided they would linis'h it oll tltemselyes. Alter that. as Raymond puts it. "time just seemed to creep on. We w eren't actually doing anything. All we were doing was waiting to start work again. btit it turned into a li\e-month gap.‘
All ol which seems like an invitation to ask
‘To me, it was just a record. ! listen to Grand Prix now and t think some of the songs are too SlOW.' Raymond MtGinh-y
" V H I. 574;“
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Teenage Fanclub: back in pole position after Grand Prix
whether their so-ealled brand new material sounds old hat to them already. 'l‘hankl‘ully not. and the break probably helped it sound l‘resher than usual. as Norman explains. ‘Sometimes when you make a record and mix it straight away. you‘re thinking about
all the bits yoti don't like about it. Alter a couple of
months. you l'orget about them and listen to it as a song again. as opposed to this thing that's constructed ol all these different elements.‘
The last thing that was on their minds when they went into the studio was how they were going to lollow tip (irand Prix — the masterwork that showed Teenage lianelub were just getting into their stride at
a point when other baiids would be running out ol'
steam. But they would like to be the lirst to deﬂate the legend that‘s grown up around it. "to me. it was just a reeord.’ states Raymond.
llatly. ‘I do think this is a mueh more linished-ot'l
record than Grand Prix was. I listen to Grand Prix now and I think some ol the songs are too slow and not quite . . . Listening to the new album alter playing songs lrom it live. I don‘t think. “Oh. God. that sounds really dillerent from the way we do it now." It takes a while to get a song right. and the songs on this record are close to the way I wanted them to be.‘ ‘When we brought otit Grand Prix at lirst.‘ interjeets Norman. people in the musie press didn‘t like it.‘ Surely not. Norm‘.’ Wasn‘t it promptly hosanua’d as the band‘s masterpieee'.’ ‘lt became that.‘ Norman insists. ‘but at lirst people didn‘t like it. I think in the music business and among
journalists it‘s received wisdom that something’s a
Raymond: ‘When we released Grand Prix". (‘reation couldn't get us any press or any TV stull or anything. Nobody wanted to know. Later on. it was. "()oh. that (innit! l’rit album‘s great!“.’
So don't make any hasty decisions about Songs l'i'U/Il Northern Britain. Not lor another six months. anyway.
Songs From Northern Britain is released by Creation Records on Mon 21 Jul.
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